Message from the New Outside Board Member
I will draw on my diverse experience that spans across various regions, industries, and government institutions to contribute to DENSO from new perspectives.
Joseph P. Schmelzeis, Jr : Outside Board Member
After serving in such positions as corporate director at SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS INC. and senior advisor to the ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Mr. Schmelzeis currently works as executive manager at Cedarfield Godo Kaisha. He was appointed as outside Board member of DENSO in 2022.
Supporting DENSO’s Innovative and Effective Corporate Governance
I was appointed as outside Board member of DENSO at the Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders held in June 2022. With its various innovations and superior technologies, DENSO has consistently stood at the leading edge of the automotive industry. At the same time, DENSO has planted roots in various regions across the globe, building strong trust-based relationships with a broad range of shareholders. By doing so, I believe DENSO has carved out a unique position that will allow it to turn the dramatic changes in the operating environment of the global automotive industry into new business opportunities.
While DENSO is a Japanese company with a long history in Japan, its corporate governance is extremely innovative. At meetings of the Board of Directors, open and constructive dialogue is held among all of the members of the Board, including the three outside Board members. In addition, DENSO makes various considerations on behalf of the outside Board members, including holding meetings for only the outside Board members that help us enhance our objectivity and enable us to exchange opinions in a more straightforward manner. DENSO understands the importance of external input in enhancing the objectivity of management decision-making, and I have seen how the Company truly tries to learn from the advice that we provide. I therefore commend DENSO for proactively adopting a corporate governance structure that distinguishes itself from companies where corporate governance is treated merely as a formality.
Understanding What Is Needed in the Evolution of the Automotive Industry
My first experience with Japan was 46 years ago, when I came to the country with my family from the United States. I was 13 at that time. After attending high school in Japan, I returned to the U.S. to attend Yale University. However, my first experience in the working world was also in Japan, when I took part in an internship. Since then, I have spent a total of 36 years living and working in Japan, while traveling back and forth between Japan and overseas.
My career has been in industries and domains that are of a very different nature than the traditional automotive industry. Starting with management consulting, I have worked in a wide range of positions throughout my career, from establishing IT venture companies to serving in the service industry and financial industry and even in government institutions. Through this experience, I have engaged in countless business discussions and negotiations. Both as a businessperson and as a senior advisor to the ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, I have served as a bridge between Japan and the United States as well as between Japan and China. Drawing on my unique work experience and personal network, I hope to introduce new perspectives into the management decision-making of DENSO.
The automotive industry is currently undergoing a paradigm shift, as evidenced by the CASE revolution. With companies from IT and other industries making an entry into the automotive industry one after the other, there is a need for new ideas that are not constrained by traditional approaches. To that end, promoting diversity, which can bring about a genuine transformation, plays a crucial role in responding to these kinds of changes in the external environment and evolving in a way that best suits the new era in which we find ourselves. Although Japan’s homogeneity has provided the country with a prominent strength, Japanese society is likely to become more open in terms of such aspects as gender, nationality, and work history going forward. I therefore intend to make every effort to support DENSO as it takes on a leading role with the transition into a new era. By doing so, I will endeavor to meet the expectations of the Company’s shareholders and other investors.